Spirituality by degree

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jim1999, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    At what point do we consider degrees in the calling of a minister. Is one doctorate enough? Why two or three doctorates? Didn't the first one take? At what point do we guage the "spirituality" of a minister by his degrees and dispense with the "real" calling of God to ministry?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    102
    I've been saving this quote from Thomas Collier, a 17th century vehement advocate of Baptist education who nonetheless understood the limits of formal education:

     
  3. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Stephen, Is that like saying the lettered man without Christ is but sounding brass and tinkling symbol? But what of the saved man with the same letters? Can he also be as sounding brass and tinkling symbol resting on his letters?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    102
    I'm afraid so. Don't get me wrong — I advocate education in all aspects, secular and religious, formal and informal.

    However, I have 20-plus years experience in my chosen field. Because I have only a bachelor's degree, however, I am not qualified to teach in that field.

    There is the need for both practical and formal education; I know when I came out of college there were dire weaknesses in my education that could only be rectified by contact with real people.

    I fear those who have only the formal aspect of education; while they may inspire us and we may benefit from their erudition, they may not be good guides as to how we are to react in the ordinary world that most of us reside in.

    An advanced degree with experience, well, that's the best of all worlds.

    Well, I guess I've got myself in enough hot water, Brother Jim.
     
  5. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    My dear Brother Stephen, methinks we walk the same path, and think the same thoughts.

    As you well know, I have never knocked education either. Get all you can. I just wonder if there isn't a point where the education, the degree, becomes the focal point. At the university, I know of men who are wrapped up in their degrees. The end result is, "Don't disagree with me because it can't be done." Some think they are more than in reality they really are.

    I am concerned about this in the pastoral field.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Messages:
    26,806
    Likes Received:
    78
    I agree Jim. I do think that education is important and have pursued it myself. Most important is the man's walk with the Lord. In the South we used to have a saying, "There's two kinds of preachers, educated and God called." Its obvious that is wrong, but I think we have gone the opposite extreme. The number of degrees would be one of the last things I would consider in calling a pastor.
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jim1999, I have absolutely no formal education, but do have years of informal learning and experience. I pastor a church here in rural Missouri. I'm looking at the whole issue from the opposite viewpoint. Can I be an effective pastor with only experience and no formal education?

    There are those on this BBS that would say my ordination was a sham, but I don't agree with them. I am, however, taking every opportunity to "sharpen the axe," getting my formal education as I go.

    So as to your first question, "at what point do we gauge the "spirituality" of a minister by his degrees and dispense with the "real" calling of God to ministry," I think the answer may be subjective in nature.

    What I mean is, certainly education is necessary, but must it come in the form of a seminary degree? I think non-traditional education, such as life-experience and involvement over the years in the ministries of the church certainly counts. It doesn't take a degree to be a student of the bible.

    That being said, if I do covet anything, it's the education that many of the pastors on this BBS and other pastors in my association have received. It doesn't take a lot to realize what valuable insight I may be missing because of my lack of formal education - that's why I'm pursuing it now - while I carry on God's call for my life as a pastor.
     
  8. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have to agree with Bro Matt. College is nice and a wonderful experience, but some of us have been prepared, by God, through different means.
    Most important is a calling from God. He will always qualify the called, and not always call the qualified.

    [ November 12, 2003, 12:03 PM: Message edited by: j_barner2000 ]
     
  9. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    quote by J. Barner
    He will always qualify the called, and not always call the qualified.
    ______________________________________________

    I rather like that. It is exactly what I have been saying.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    0
    wish I could take credit for it. I have adapted it a little but a more ( but charismatic) preacher told me something similar to that back when I was trying to tell God I was not qualified to be called into ministry.
     
  11. Pastork

    Pastork
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2002
    Messages:
    434
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tend to agree with USN2Pulpit. In my view, the important thing is training for men who are truly called, but that can be accomplished in a number of ways. I, for one, would not have wanted to attempt pastoral ministry without the degrees the Lord led me to get, but hose degrees are by no means the most important qualification, which is God's calling and His gifting a man with a shepherd's heart. show me a man with a shepherd's heart, given to him by God, and I will be able to train him for the challenges he will face in pastoral ministry. But give me a seminary grad without a pastor's heart, and I will suggest he do something else.

    I should point out that the seminary I went to prohibited one man from getting his M.Div. while I was there. they told him they only give there M.Div. to men who exhibit a call to pastoral ministry, and they did not believe him to be such a man. so, they allowed him to graduate with an M.A. in biblical studies. He wasn't very happy with that, but I think they did the right thing.

    Pastork

    http://www.immanuelhomepage.org/
    http://immanuelforum.org/phpbb/
     
  12. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    There are too many in the pews and pulpits who have degrees but no temperature.

    I went from a parachurch organization with fire and ready to win people to Christ and disciple others in the church. I found a number of the dead wood in the church didn't ike me too well because they were happy with their social club. I am still discipling people that want to grow in increasing numbers. They are everywhere. But very few are presently leaders in churches. Not too long ago I met with a pastor and his wife and the church he pastors is doing very well. But I find that is by far the exception. So many come to expect the pastor to "make the church grow" while the people stand by and watch. Christianity is not a spectator sport with 60 thousand watching and 22 doing the job while the 60 thousand pay to watch. That is not pastoring. That is enabling the dead to feel good about being dead.


    Degrees are worthless without passion. But someone with great passion and education is a powerful mix.
     
  13. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    I look at spirituality by how one transforms the bible into something that he or she lives.
     
  14. superdave

    superdave
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    2,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our pastor (who does have several Masters and almost has a Doctorate) likes to say, that his education has helped him realize how much he doesn't know! And how every degree he got shrunk his sermon files considerably. "Well, I guess I can't preach that any more!" He loves learning, but also has a great passion for the ministry, and God's Word

    They both are important. Many times the uneducated get themselves into trouble being passionate about things they don't have the tools to study thoroughly, and many times the educated fall into the trap of studying all the passion out of a subject!

    Just like every other area of the Christian life, Balance would be nice!
     
  15. Bethelassoc

    Bethelassoc
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0
    How about a second question:

    How do you know that the education received is a valid one?

    Again, it comes down to man teaching man. What if that teaching is flawed? Not all Baptists agree, otherwise there would be no need for sub-denominations, right?

    We have an educated pastor in our association. He worked for his degree because he wanted to. He said it has changed nothing in his philosophy and preaching, it was just a "hobby" of his for a time; to prove to himself he was able to get an education and he chose a religious field.

    I have, as some others do on here, a degree in a secular field. Since my call to preach, I've been asked (by those I work with) if I desired getting an education in a seminary-type setting. My feeling is no. I don't see the reason to. But, the way things are going anymore, it almost makes me think that without that "degree" upon the wall, a person is not "qualified" to teach God's Word (Fortunately, my church is not keen on educated ministers...old fashioned, I guess).

    I believe scripture points to the elders of the church teaching the younger, but WE'VE failed in those aspects as well. I'm all for education, but it's what you do with it that makes the difference, not just by earning the paper itself.

    :D
     
  16. Groves1611

    Groves1611
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2003
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been reading the posts on this particular question. I have to be honest in saying that I too used to be one who was more interrested in what degree one had...etc.
    There was a time that I traveled in evangelism; holding meetings everywhere I could. I found that there were two questions that were commonly asked by every pastor. 1."What school did you go to?" and 2."How old are you?".
    You know not once did any of them ask me about the salvation that I received from the Lord. Not one ever wanted to know anything about my relationship with God.
    You see where I am going with this!
    It is all too common for folks to get there eyes on "man's" expectations of a minister rather than what God has called.
    In a meeting with a man (disgruntled with the preaching in our church) he made that comment to me that "we hired you, so we will decided what you will do or not do". I considered what he said and replied back to him that it was God that called me to the ministry and him or any board and it is God that I must give an account to. He didn't see things that way unfortunately so he left.
    My point is the Christians of today have such a mind set of doing things "our way" that we have forgotten that God may actually have a plan that is not "our way".
    We need to not approach our doctrine with our "church constitutions"... instead, we need to approach our constitutions with our Doctrine.
     
  17. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Sadly, Groves, the scenario you describe - school and age - are "sifting" questions I ask every missionary, special speaker, camp counselor, etc.

    IF you pass this initial "sift", you will be quized on salvation, church membership, baptism, experience, references, etc.

    But if you come from Hyles bunch or are KJVonly or are 25 with little experience, you will be "sifted out" with a preliminary "thanks, but no thanks" from me.

    Fact of life for pastors.
     
  18. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    Somtimes we forget there is (sadly somtimes) a difference between schooling and education. There is also a difference in the quality of education.Where we get our education makes a difference also because sometimes the school you went to will tell a lot about you.
    So it is that the number of PhD's(piled higher and deeper) is not as important as what you actually learn,how you equip yourself for the ministry God has called you to.Also remember as J. Vernon McGhee says."it's what you learn after you know it all that really counts."
     
  19. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    In 1945, when I went to school, there were a few choices one could make. One could go to a conventional theological college in a university, such as Cambridge or Oxford, Sheffield and such. Or, one could, as I did, and go to a Bible College affiliated with the Baptist Union.

    It was an old building that had been bombed during the war. At the time, it had no windows, a sparse library and only 3 professors (all pastors). There were also 8 students. Not very prestigious you might say.

    Look at the personal attention to each student, and the fact that we each had a pastorate throughout our schooling. How do you compare this with academia? One can always learn. He can learn by personal study and diligence. At this school, if a student didn't fit himself for ministry, he did not last at the school. All 8 students went on to lifetime ministries, further education and service in the Lord's name. Not a bad record for a rag-tag school of the Bible.

    I believe in getting all the education possible, but if it is not possible, for various reasons, then application of one's self to the principles of the pastorate will fit him well, and the people to whom he ministers.

    Just be available for God to use you.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

Share This Page

Loading...